Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - 8

MSO TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
Kevin Hart
Cox Communications
With so many incredible technologists innovating every
day in the cable industry, it's always hard to single anyone
out for recognition. But we think Cox Communications
EVP & CTO Kevin Hart deserves the honor, not just for his
decades of industry experience and wisdom-but because
he has helped lead Cox boldly into new technological pastures
involving personalization, faster product lifecycles
and of course, broadband. The company's rollout of its
next-generation TV experience known as Contour continues
to push the envelope.
Indeed, Hart's the rare technologist who understands that
customers, not techie execs, ultimately will decide what
technology and software makes it in the marketplace. And
in such a competitive environment, Hart's dedication to
smartly applied technologies and working collaboratively
with other Cox units to ensure smooth adoption has been
key to this mid-size MSO's success in a world of giants.
" We're trying to lead the market where it makes sense and
provide great quality of service, " he says. " There's defi nitely
an element of competitive positioning. But we want to offer
the right level of service for our customers based on what
they use and need and want. "
To that end, we chatted with Hart about both Cox's tech
strategy and his own personal secrets to success.
What achievements for you and your team have made
you most proud over the last year?
I'm defi nitely proud of the things we've accomplished and
delivered, whether it's Contour, whether it's our network upgrades,
whether it's some of the products we've delivered
for Cox Business. But I think I'm probably most pleased
and proud about the way that we've aligned the entire
company around technology delivery. We've got strong
alignment with our strategy team, marketing team, product
team, ops, fi nance, HR. If you take Contour, for example ...
We really optimized end to end the deployment and operational
support of that particular product, and we're doing
that in other areas... I'm really
pleased with the functional
part of how this has come
together... It's an ongoing and
evolving communication and
teamwork effort, but we have
a good running start. "
How is the Contour rollout
going, and what kind of reaction
have you received from
customers so far?
It's going quite well. We're
very pleased with the market
uptake and the level of
service... We're seeing an uptake in terms of use of the
personalized recommendation engine, so that's been a
home run. The second screen usage-particularly with
events like the World Cup, with people taking their video
on the run and watching things from a mobile perspective,
just the ease of it-has been outstanding. I think one of the
main benefi ts has been the increase in whole home DVR
storage capability. It's the six tuners, the two terabytes and
just being able to watch their shows has been a big positive
piece of customer feedback. So I think that whole package
has been well received. We're north of 500,000 customers,
and we continue to roll out. We just had our recent Contour
2.2 upgrade, and the quality of the customer experience
continues to get better month over month.
Cox is closing in on the one-year anniversary of its Contour
TV product, which it launched last August.
Contour now boasts more than 500K customers.
Hart played college soccer and still uses lessons learned
about teamwork in his job as CTO.
8
cablefaxmag.com
What advice would you have for a junior person trying to
achieve your level of success?
First, you have to make a plan, create a vision. You have
to create a vision and a mission statement for your own
career. Some goals, some milestones. They may evolve
over time, but to have a focal point in terms of the training,
the experiences, the mentors that you surround yourself
with is a great place to start. It's also about taking
calculated risks. Sometimes folks may not want to take
a risk or take on new assignments for fear of failure. But
you have to take those calculated risks and evolve your
skill set and your experiences.... You have to surround
yourself with great people, and in some cases surround
yourself with great people who are even more talented
and more experienced in certain areas... I played college
soccer, so teamwork has always been a key to success
of my career. It's understanding the strength of the folks
around you, but then having joint goals, passion and
perseverance to succeed.
- Michael Grebb
July 2014
Cablefax: The Magazine
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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014

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